Performance and Meat Quality of Broiler Chicken Fed Diets Enriched With Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia Illucens) Larvae Meal
Insects are a common feedstuff for wild birds and scavenging poultry. Prospects of insects inclusion in compounded animal feeds as cheaper alternative protein sources has lately attracted intercontinental attention. Black Soldier Fly larvae (BSFL) meal was used to partially replace soybean meal (SBM) and fish meal (FM) in broiler chicken diets to determine the effect on performance, carcass characteristics, breast meat sensory attributes and the economic implication of their use. The BSFL meal was included at a rate of 0, 5, 10 and 15% to form the Control (C), L1, L2 and L3 diets respectively but remain iso-caloric and iso-nitrogenous. Each treatment included both starter and finisher diet fed during the starter phase (day 7 to day 28) and finisher phase (day 28 to day 49) respectively. The larvae meal replaced 0, 13.3, 26.3 and 45.2% of soybean meal and 0, 14.0, 30.0 and 35.0% of fish meal in starter diets C, L1, L2 and L3 respectively while in the finisher diets C, L1, L2 and L3, the larvae meal replaced 0, 19.0, 46.0 and 64.0% of soybean meal and 0, 0, 25.0 and 43.8% of fish meal respectively. The diets were formulated on a least-cost basis, the price of starter and finisher feed for treatment L3 was lowest (54.50Ksh/Kg and 51.50Ksh/Kg respectively) while the control was highest (61.50Ksh/Kg and 57.40Ksh/Kg respectively). Two hundred and eighty eight (n=288) day old Cobb 500 broiler chicks were obtained from a commercial hatchery and acclimatized for one week before being randomly housed in 48 metallic cages (6 birds per cage), each measuring 750mm by 900mm by 750mm and offered the four dietary treatments (72 birds per treatment) for 42 days. Dietary inclusion of up to 15% BSFL meal in broiler chicken diets had similar effect (p>0.05) to the control on body weight gain (BWG), average daily feed intake (ADFI), feed conversion ratio (FCR) and sensory characteristics of cooked breast meat. Cost of rearing the birds on diet L3 to slaughter age was 14.3% cheaper compared to the control, resulting into the highest Cost Benefit Ratio (p=0.031) and best Return on Investment (p=0.031). The study demonstrated that 45.2% and 64.0% replacement xv of soybean meal and 35.0% and 43.8% replacement of fish meal with BSFL meal was 11.4% and 10.3% cheaper in broiler starter and finisher diets respectively of 16.0% and 25.0% higher Cost Benefit Ratio and Return on Investment compared to the control. The study also demonstrated that at this replacement rate, no adverse effect on ADFI, BWG, FCR, carcass characteristics and sensory attributes of cooked breast meat was observed. In conclusion, the study demonstrated that BSFL meal can be included in broiler diets to partially replace the more expensive soybean meal and fish meal without affecting the birds performance and taste of broiler chicken breast meat.
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